As families lose their sources of income and home environments are turned upside down due to the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, children find themselves more vulnerable to poverty and likely to be deprived of their basic needs. For the poorest families, including those who do not have access to social protection, the situation is dire. Children suffer poverty differently from adults and they are more likely to experience lifelong consequences from it.  Malnutrition can last a lifetime, having long-term consequences on children’s physical, social and emotional development. And losses in learning at a young age can result in children falling behind in school, finding it difficult to ever catch up. Without access to health care, children could miss out on vaccines that could be life-saving in later years and the treatment necessary to grow up healthy and thrive. In addition, children are placed at greater risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse.

Available data on the impact of unemployment and the loss of parents’ income due to the COVID-19 pandemic are not disaggregated by age and therefore do not reflect the realities faced by children around the world. In response to this gap, in 2020 Save the Children and UNICEF collaborated to estimate how many children live in monetary poor households as well as how many more are likely to be pushed into this situation due to the impact of the pandemic. The analysis has been conducted and the projections of the impact of COVID-19 on child poverty (measured directly in terms of the multiple material deprivations suffered by individual children) have been updated in 2021. The findings estimate the likely change in the number of children in monetary poor families due to COVID-19, under different scenarios based on likely reductions of per capita income and changes in income distribution. In both cases, the projections reveal that, after peaking in 2020, the situation would remain worse than before COVID.

The global socioeconomic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could result in 60 million more children in monetary poor households by the end of 2021 compared to the pre-COVID situation. Similarly, child poverty is projected to be 10% higher than before the pandemic, resulting in an additional 100 million children in multidimensional poverty.